Graphic designers create logos, brochures, ads, and other marketing materials for companies and organizations. They also design websites and other digital content, including social media graphics.
Graphic designers may specialize in one type of design (such as print or web design), or they can be generalists who do everything from logo design to social media graphics.
Starting a graphic design business can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. It’s not easy, but if you’re passionate about design and want to make a living, starting your own graphic design business is a great way to go.
Consider a suitable pricing structure when starting a graphic design business. You may charge the customers per hour or fixed pricing based on the project’s nature.
Here we have some real-life success stories of starting a graphic design business:
1. caddesignhelp.com ($96K/year)
Scott Tarcy (from Charlotte, NC, USA) started caddesignhelp.com over 8 years ago.
There are so many project examples but an interesting one in the early years was a portable vacuum to clean up dog poop when you walk your day. It was called the “Vacapoo”
2. Draftss ($180K/year)
Junaid Ansari (from Mumbai) started Draftss over 5 years ago.
Hello Readers, I am Junaid Ansari, and with Amin Memon, I have co-founded Draftss.com which is a productized graphic design & frontend code service on subscription starting from just $89/week.
In 2019, we made $66,000 ARR serving 54 clients for whom we created 8000+ designs & coding 100+ pages. In 2020, we have kept our focus on automation as our primary objective toward Draftss. Last month in July 2020, we hit a $9.6k MRR.
Learn more about starting a graphic design business:
Where to start?
-> Examples of established graphic design business
-> Marketing ideas for a graphic design business
-> Graphic design business slogans
-> Graphic design business names
-> Graphic design business Instagram bios
4. DesignPac ($50.4K/year)
SumanJung (from Louisville, Kentucky, USA) started DesignPac over 4 years ago.
My name is SumanJung. I am 25 years old. I am from the third world country Nepal, one of the poorest countries in the world. Unseen by many, Nepal has tremendous business opportunities to those who want to utilize them. I co-founded the company called DesignPac which provides dedicated web experts (graphic designers, web developers & digital marketers) for rent. A productized service the world has never experienced before.
All of our experts have been strenuously vetted. Only the most qualified are selected to join our team. Because of the currency exchange rate we are able to pay out team well above industry standard, giving us not only a competitive edge in the market but also in our ability to hire only the best. The majority of our clients are startups, small businesses, and agencies. Our company profiting by using a global workforce, enabling us to keep our service prices below industry average. A blessing for those who are frustrated with their unreliable freelance teams or for those with startups and low budgets. Anyone with a dream should be able to see it fulfilled. With DesignPac anyone can start a business.
5. MeetAnders ($87.9K/year)
Marilyn Wo (from Singapore, Singapore) started MeetAnders over 8 years ago.
Hey guys, I’m Marilyn Wo from Singapore. Together with my husband, we co-founded MeetAnders, a productized graphic design company.
Now, 5 years down the road, we figured that out and finally grew to a three-man team with $7,000 in monthly recurring revenue and growing.
6. Above 8000 Creative ($120K/year)
Mimi Council (from Mammoth Lakes, California, USA) started Above 8000 Creative about 6 years ago.
My name is Mimi, and together with my husband Delaney we started Above 8000 Creative.
We started Above 8000 Creative as a side hustle to help save money for our dream home. It’s only been two years since we started and we’ve already broken ground on our brand new home. Not only that, but we found another passion and we love helping small businesses stand out from the crowd.
7. Eikon Labs ($180K/year)
Anebi Agbo (from Tempe, AZ, USA) started Eikon Labs about 4 years ago.
Hey, y’all! My name is Anebi Agbo. I am the Founder and Chief Strategist of Eikon Labs - a web design consultancy. We work with brands that make the world rejoice and seek to only take on meaningful projects.
The idea for Eikon Labs was birthed during my altMBA in 2019. I was working in corporate America at the time and began to have the itch to pursue entrepreneurship. altMBA was a perfect catalyst to help get started.
8. Sttark ($12M/year)
Dan Frist (from Greenville, SC, USA) started Sttark about 19 years ago.
I’m Dan Frist and I own Frontier Label. Frontier Label is a full e-commerce digital label printing company in Greenville, SC. We print labels for companies of all sizes in countless industries.
9. Designious ($180K/year)
Alexandru Dumitru (from Bucharest, Romania) started Designious over 15 years ago.
Hi, I am Alex Dumitru and I am a co-founder at Designious. Designious is a graphic design library that provides extra tools like an online designer app and an API that helps both graphic designers and print-on-demand entrepreneurs. At the moment we make around $12-13k per month.
My background is in IT and business development, but I’ve worn many hats along the way, from sales to customer support.
10. Percept ($1.44M/year)
Lewis Jenkins (from Sydney NSW, Australia) started Percept about 26 years ago.
Hey guys, I’m Lewis Jenkins, Principal, and Founder of Percept Brand Design, a branding, design, and creative agency in Sydney, Australia.
In terms of numbers, the business turns over approx. $1.5M/year, employs 10 staff and has worked with high-profile clients such as Unilever, Dulux, Toyota, Sennheiser, and The Australian Government. These things are all great and yes, I am proud of them, but what satisfies me most is that business doesn’t run my life and that has been by design.
11. Quantum Digital Assets ($1.92M/year)
Peter Kozodoy (from Road Town, British Virgin Islands) started Quantum Digital Assets over 2 years ago.
Hey there, I’m Peter Kozodoy - the co-Founder and CEO of Stradeso. Stradeso is a subscription service that produces your creative content - in 3 days or less, for unbeatably low prices - by connecting your projects directly to creatives with excess capacity, without the hassle of finding, hiring and managing them.
Stradeso is a brand new launch and in beta for anyone who wants to give it a try. And although we’re starting from scratch now, it was born out of our first company - a multimillion-dollar, multinational, Inc.5000 marketing agency.
12. Canny Creative ($600K/year)
Tony Hardy (from Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) started Canny Creative almost 8 years ago.
Hey, I’m Tony Hardy, founder, and director of Canny Creative. We’re a creative agency based in the North East of England creating brands, websites, and content that helps brands grow globally.
13. Content-Whale Private Limited ($514K/year)
Vaibhav Kishnani (from Mumbai, Maharashtra, India) started Content-Whale Private Limited about 6 years ago.
I'm Vaibhav Kishnani, an engineer but a passionate writer by profession. I established Content-Whale in 2017 when I was in my third year of engineering. Going by the maxim that quality writing is everything, Content-Whale caters to 42 different content types that form the backstory of every company’s digital presence and marketing efforts.
I started this content agency with a mere sum of Rs. 2,500. Today, we have drawn a revenue turnover of Rs. 4 Crores! In my opinion, it is not individual progress. Instead, a start-up is about connecting with the right individuals at the right time, who keep the show running ahead with their strife for perfection.
14. Huemor ($3M/year)
Jeff Gapinski (from Pittsburgh, PA, USA) started Huemor over 11 years ago.
My name’s Jeff and I’m the co-founder of Huemor, a digital marketing agency focusing on building memorable websites.
To date we’ve helped over 200 companies transform their digital presence, we’ve earned over 100 international awards, and we’ve scaled our team beyond 40 people.
15. Buddy Web Design and Development ($180K/year)
Scott Daigger (from Grand Rapids, MI, USA) started Buddy Web Design and Development ago.
Hi, I’m Scott Daigger, founder of Buddy Web Design & Development. Buddy offers services including website design and development, logo design, graphic design, branding, web content writing, e-commerce, blogging, and search engine optimization (SEO).
The business has been ramping up quickly over the last 6 months, evolving from a one-person freelance business to a growing team, currently bringing in around $25k per month, and I expect we’ll double that shortly. We’ve worked with clients nationwide in a variety of industries, with a particularly large portion of clients in the healthcare and medical device space.
16. Company Folders, Inc ($3.3M/year)
Vladimir Gendelman (from Pontiac, MI, USA) started Company Folders, Inc almost 20 years ago.
My name is Vladimir Gendelman, and I am the Founder and CEO of Company Folders, Inc. We are the ultimate boutique presentation folder company. I founded the company in 2003, and since then, we have won multiple awards, including making Inc.’s list of 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in America for three consecutive years. We have the largest selection of folders available anywhere, and we serve everyone from the travel agent working at home to schools and universities, government organizations, and large companies such as Google, Chick-fil-A, Sony, MGM, and the NFL.
Our main product lines are presentation folders, 3-ring bindersand envelopes. And our flagship product is a two-pocket presentation folder. We have printed over 20 million products for over 5,000 loyal clients. Our blog and design gallery have seen more than 5.5 million readers. We have hundreds of Google reviews with an average rating of 5 stars, and we’ve been featured in over 500 publications, including Forbes and Time.
17. Delesign ($972K/year)
Shaival Mehta (from Dubai - United Arab Emirates) started Delesign almost 5 years ago.
Hi guys! My name is Shaival Mehta, and I’m the co-owner of Delesign. This company was founded four years ago to help entrepreneurs and marketers utilize the power of delegation for their design needs.
Our clients have loved the flexibility they have with being able to easily scale up and down based on their design needs.
18. WOO Branding ($48K/year)
Ulas Uygun (from Amsterdam, Netherlands) started WOO Branding over 4 years ago.
Hello, my name is Ulas Uygun and I’m the founder of WOO Branding. We provide logo designs and ready-to-launch brands for entrepreneurs, small business owners, and other creators.
- A profit margin of over 90 %.
- A business that anyone can launch on their own with almost no monetary investment.
19. Sievers Creative ($1.2M/year)
Roger Sievers (from Red Wing, MN, USA) started Sievers Creative almost 14 years ago.
Hello, My name is Roger Sievers, and I founded Sievers Creative. Sievers Creative is a full-service marketing agency located in Red Wing, MN. We are a marketing and design agency in Minnesota that helps local businesses gain a competitive edge in today’s crowded market.
20. Koa Sticker ($108K/year)
Hi! My name is Tim Koa. I talk about how I started my sticker business on Etsy. I talk about how I came up with the idea in the first place, all the equipment, and supplies that I use, and I also go through what I've earned in revenue each month since I started in August 2020.
- Tim Koa started selling stickers on Etsy as part of a side hustle in mid-pandemic in August 2020.
- He managed to sell stickers worth around $31,682 in just one year of selling.
- Tim talks about how he started printing stickers with a cheap printer from Amazon. It cost him so much on the ink cartridges that he decided to switch to a better quality printer.
- His Etsy store has about 3000 visits per month on average, with a conversion rate of around 8%.
Watch the full video on youtube.com
21. Humphrey ($240K/year)
Hey all! My Name is Humphrey Yang. The poster business I started at the age of 29 and then scaled to $1.7 million in revenue over 3 years.
Humphrey Yang is a personal finance expert and content creator who primarily uses TikTok and YouTube to reach out to his audience.
Yang began his professional career in 2011 as a player experience assistant lead for Facebook games at Kabam.
In late 2019, on a whim after Thanksgiving, he began publishing his content on the rapidly growing platform.
- Currently, Humphrey has around 3.3 million followers on TikTok and his YouTube channel has 860K subscribers.
- His videos have been watched around 120,006,741 times.
As of 2022, his estimated net worth is $2 million, and he generates $20,000 per month from nine passive sources of income.
He makes money from his Patreon page, real estate, digital products, cryptocurrency staking, content writing, Turo car rentals, stocks, and his YouTube channel.
Watch the full video on youtube.com ➜
22. Unique Blog Designs ($1.08M/year)
Josh is the co-founder and Director of Marketing of Unique Blog Designs. His company recently launched Affiliate Theme. One of the biggest challenges for online businesses is getting users to pull out their credit cards and actually pay for something. When I heard that Josh Mullineaux launched a digital product that brought in over $90,000 in its first month.
23. Socialistics ($500K/year)
- Jason Yormark is the founder and Chief Social Officer of Socialistics. He started this advertising agency as a side project, but it has since expanded to manage social media marketing campaigns for 15 clients, ranging in price from $2 to $5K.
- Jason began his career with Microsoft before switching to blogging during a year of unemployment before being rehired.
- This company provides content marketing, social media marketing, blogging, copywriting, Facebook advertising, and social media advertising services to their customers.
Read the full story on upflip.com ➜
24. ArrowUpz ($60K/year)
M Waseem Aziz (from Bahawalpur, Pakistan) started ArrowUpz over 4 years ago.
Hi, my name is M Waseem Aziz, the founder, and CEO of ArrowUpz. I started this company to help people who need some digital work to be done by some of the greatest remote workers.
So my flagship products spin around different digital services. I remember the first payout for being a graphic designer was around $250. However, adding other services boost my revenue to $5K/mo.
25. Snappa ($1M/year)
Christopher Gimmer (from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) started Snappa about 8 years ago.
Hey there! My name is Christopher Gimmer and I’m the co-founder of Snappa - a SaaS app that helps non-designer create online graphics in a snap. We make it super easy to create graphics for social media, ads, blogs, and more!
26. Anytime Design ($30K/year)
SHUBHAM DHAWAN (from ) started Anytime Design over 1 year ago.
Hi guys! I’m Shubham Dhawan and I started this company - Anytime Design with my business partner Mitya Smusin.
We’ve both been working with multiple clients around the world on their UI, UX, Software, and Marketing projects so getting started with Anytime was a natural progression.
27. Siege Media ($5M/year)
Ross Hudgens is the founder of Siege Media, a content marketing business specializing in SEO.
The company is completely remote, has a nationwide reach, and works with some of the largest businesses on the internet.
Siege Media's sales process is now fully based on an inbound funnel. Besides SEO, the company also provides graphic design, content creation, and link-building services.
Ross began with a specialty and then expanded his knowledge. He got his first job scanning papers for a pharmaceutical business after graduating from Chapman University in Orange County with a degree in Business Marketing and Creative Writing.
He had been blogging on the side, so he was already familiar with SEO writing and the process of content marketing. That experience later helped him in the development of his content marketing agency.
Listen to the full podcast on mixergy.com ➜
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29. Kairos Digital ($780K/year)
Stephen Freeman (from Jacksonville, Florida, USA) started Kairos Digital about 4 years ago.
After working at a marketing agency for many years, my brother and I decided to launch our own agency, specializing in clear messaging for businesses. I became the first StoryBrand Certified guide in my city and we started providing services for companies who wanted to clarify their brand message, launch websites that converted at a higher rate, and create marketing campaigns that had a strong ROI.
We closed out 2020 with over $230,000 in sales (during the pandemic) and are looking forward to continued growth in the coming years.
30. SeekThem ($180K/year)
Nevilson Christian (from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India) started SeekThem over 1 year ago.
This is the 10th month of business for us, and we’re booking $15K per month (the last 3 months, with 35% month-on-month growth).
Hey! 👋 I'm Pat Walls, the founder of Starter Story.
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